View Full Version : Compositing Software

04-21-2007, 07:58 AM
I just bought "Digital Compositing for Film and Video" Second Edition by Steve Wright. I have been through the forums and found a discussion on Compositing Software and found it helpful. My problem is cost. I am a hobbyist just learning and was wondering if there is an inexpensive software program available?

04-21-2007, 12:28 PM
try http://www.jahshaka.org/

04-22-2007, 11:18 AM
Or blender. Also free.

04-23-2007, 02:06 PM
Although I don't know from personal experience, I've heard that Adobe After Effects has good compositing capabilities.

However, the new version (After Effects CS3) is listing at $999 on Adobe's website. :grumpy: I'm sure you can find CS or CS2 versions at a fraction of the cost. Especially off EBay.

04-23-2007, 07:40 PM
Depending on the tools you need I would recommend looking at DFX+ Or Fusion5 DFX+.
If you don't need everything in a box (no, not the saturday night live skit) to do everything possible the base price of DFX+ I think starts around 1299.00. That's not bad.
Check out www.eyeonline.com and or call their Toronto office and ask to Speak to Daryl Shayl. I think the full price of the package is stupidly priced (come on 5K? Get real) but for what it does and how well it works (when it works, not saying there are not problems with it), it does pay for itself. Still its silly to price something like that on the edge of the market. It would be better to get as many users as possible on board and then own the market instead because of easy entry for costs of ownership.

Actually call daryl and tell him his pricing structure sucks.

BTW, blender is garbage. I can't recommend that to anyone.

04-23-2007, 11:44 PM
BTW, blender is garbage. I can't recommend that to anyone.

Interesting. I certainly wouldn't recommend it to use in production (as it's an open source project and I've never used it's compositor).

However, I would never recommend Fusion when someone said flat out that they are a hobbyist and cost is a problem. Fusion is VERY overpriced (though I do enjoy working in it). Best compositor overall and best compositor cost-wise are hardly the same thing. :devil:

And if I were recommending a compositing app for learning that's not free, I'd recommend the educational version of Shake (http://www.apple.com/shake/) (Mac only) for $250. Well cheaper than AE and Fusion. Even at Shake's full Mac price, it's what, $500? :D

04-24-2007, 06:04 AM
From the replies it seems that AE is a good alternative although expensive.

Tom Wood
04-24-2007, 07:56 AM
I know it isn't really a compositor, but I use Mirage for that very purpose. They offer a LightWave crossgrade for $349:


04-24-2007, 11:15 AM
Stating the obvious:
If you don't need pro compositing tools yet, Lightwave itself can do some pretty good compositing.
It's not as versatile as a dedicated compositor, but I've gotten some pretty good results with it.:)

04-26-2007, 03:49 PM
That's true. It might take a few renders and some tests but you can get some interesting results that might work for you.

04-27-2007, 02:46 AM
Hmm, I'd have to say that just to learn the principles of compositing that Blender isn't that bad. I wouldn't say it was garbage, particularly as its free. (which is no excuse for being rubbish I know, but Blender's ok)
I've tried out Jahshaka for tracking and stuff, but I've found it unstable and difficult to use and very thin on the ground with tutorials/literature.

04-27-2007, 06:38 PM
You could go with AE but its dirt slow once you get more than a few layers. Not exactly cheap when you consider it against something like DFX + for the speed comparision but it does come with free rendernodes unlike Fusion5 which is 250 bucks a pop per system.

04-29-2007, 05:53 AM
Here is another alternative.........



04-29-2007, 04:30 PM
I looked at FXHome Vision Lab Studio. Although its more than I wanted to spend, I may break the piggy bank. With that in mind, considering the cost, would FXHome Vision Lab Studio lead other software programs in that price range.

04-29-2007, 06:17 PM
Visonlab might be your best option I guess. Not really that bad for what it does for 499.00US.

04-30-2007, 04:39 AM
I picked it up over the holidays, and was up and running whithin 10min. Easy online tuts, a TON of stuff that After Effects would charge separately for. Free of charge and still adding to the list. I'd recommend it to anyone.

04-30-2007, 07:53 AM
If you're running a Mac think about Shake. It's really cheap now (comparatively) and is the best compositing app ever IMO.

04-30-2007, 08:03 AM
Agreed! But I already posted that suggestion once (with it's incredible price) and it was skimmed over entirely and I didn't want to push the issue. :D But since you mention it...:agree: :devil:

04-30-2007, 08:39 AM
You can do limited compositing in Quicktime Pro - you can use layers with alpha channels, use blend modes etc.

If you're on a really tight budget, it might be worth giving it a go. Otherwise, I'll second (or third) Jez with Shake - it's without a doubt the best value pro compositing app out there at the moment (so long as you have a mac!)

I use After Effects most of the time, but that's 'cos I've been using it since version 3 and Shake is still relatively unfamiliar to me. AE is probably a little easier for beginners (to compositing) to understand IMHO, but it is overpriced in comparison to Shake

04-30-2007, 11:28 AM
Guess who doesn't have a Mac?

04-30-2007, 11:32 AM
Guess who doesn't have a Mac?

Bill Gates?

04-30-2007, 11:34 AM
AE is probably a little easier for beginners (to compositing) to understand IMHO, but it is overpriced in comparison to Shake

I suppose it depends on whether you prefer to work in layers or nodes.

04-30-2007, 11:35 AM
I'm in good company. Better stick to the subject of the thread

04-30-2007, 11:59 AM
I suppose it depends on whether you prefer to work in layers or nodes.

I agree. It's also fair to say that it depends on the kind of projects you're tackling. AE seems to generally be a lot more popular with motion graphics people (for titles, montage etc.) - shake is for hardcore comping :) I've done some pretty hardcore comping in AE though :P

05-05-2007, 01:58 AM
If you're running a Mac think about Shake. It's really cheap now (comparatively) and is the best compositing app ever IMO.

I would suggested shake or AE as well. Just keep in mind that Shake's development is discontinued, thats why Apple dropped its price from 3k to $499. It is still worth the price alone for the the keying, stabilizing and tracking tools that come with it. If you are more into motion graphics than FX compositing than After Effect is probably the best choice. As there is a infinite amount of plug-ins for it and it integrates seamlessly with popular apps like PSD and AI as they are all by Adobe.


05-05-2007, 09:36 AM
if money's tight, there are a few freeware/open source compositors out there.
Jahshaka: http://sourceforge.net/projects/jahshakafx/
Cinepaint: http://www.cinepaint.org/

this is interesting too:

I like AE personally, despite the lack of nodes (though you can work with nested comps). Combustion's good too.